Founding Fathers - Arthur C. Newby


My blog posts on the founding fathers of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will hopefully shed more light on their personalities, not just facts about when and where they were born, what they did or when the passed away.
I have always found Arthur C. Newby an interesting figure. Indeed, he may have been the most likeable of the four in that he obviously had a big heart. Known as the "quiet philanthropist," he helped found Riley's Children's Hospital and made grants to Butler University and Earlham College. Newby also helped protect Turkey Run State Park by purchasing land to buffer it against developers. Perhaps most impressive, he was reported to have discreetly found homes for homeless families - by some estimates, hundreds of people benefited from this largess.
Newby had a tough time dealing with the brutal aspects of auto racing. After one of his cars driven by Charlie Merz crashed into the crowd and killed three people at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's first auto race meet in August 1909 he announced he was withdrawing his company, National Motor Vehicle Company, from any further competition. A bold move for a man who was first vice president of the new Speedway. While he rescinded that decision, he nearly pulled out again 11 months later when his driver, Tommy Kincaid died also at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway testing one his cars.
Juxtaposed to the swearing, risk taking Carl Fisher, Newby must have seemed a bit shy. Bottom line, Art Newby was a man of compassion and any character sketch of this man should start from that foundation - quite, caring and compassionate.
Enduring chronic intestinal ailments through most of his life, Newby passed away quietly in his Meridan Street home in Indianapolis without ever marrying on September 11, 1933.